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Risk Factors for Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
by Michelle Badash, MS
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop eczema with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing eczema. If you have a number of risk factors for eczema, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors include:
There is a strong genetic component to eczema, although the specific details of how eczema is inherited remain incompletely understood. Parents who suffer from allergic disorders, including eczema, asthma, and hay fever have a higher risk of having children with eczema.
Eczema may be triggered or worsened by environmental factors such as:
People who are prone to allergies have a greater risk of developing eczema than those who do not have allergies. Some allergens that may be associated with eczema include:
Eczema can occur at any age, but the risk is greatest for infants and children. It is estimated that of people who eventually develop eczema, 65% of patients develop symptoms in the first year of life, and 90% develop symptoms before age 5. The condition often improves in adulthood, but 50% of those affected in childhood are affected throughout life.
Excess weight or obesity, in both children and adults, is associated with an increased risk of eczema. In addition to risk, eczema tends to be more severe.
Atopic dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis. Updated June 1, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
1/4/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis: Zhang A, Silverberg JI. Association of atopic dermatitis with being overweight and obese: a systematic review and metaanalysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72(4):606-618.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 1/4/2016
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